Whether you are visiting Happy Valley for the first time, have friends from home visiting this weekend, or just want to get the full Penn State experience before you graduate, there are 10 things you must do or places you must visit.
1. Lion Shrine
You cannot leave Happy Valley without making a stop for a photo at the iconic Lion Shrine. This beloved landmark is said to be one of the most photographed spots on the University Park campus and will provide you with the perfect photograph to represent your time spent in State College. Get in line fast though, there is literally always a crowd here, day and night (seriously).
2. Berkey Creamery
On your way back from the lion, you must stop for some delightful ice cream from the infamous creamery here at Penn State. No matter the season, it is always the perfect time for Creamery ice cream! Hey, Ben & Jerry’s got its start at Penn State through a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making…so you know this stuff has got to be the real deal.
3. Football game/Sporting event
Even if you are not the biggest sports fan, you have to attend at least one sporting event taking place in Happy Valley in your lifetime. Penn State pride is unlike any other and it is an experience of its own. Beaver Stadium is where it’s at, but if you’re looking for something outside of football season, PSU prides itself in our many accomplished athletes. Check out the official line up here.
4. Walk around/Shop downtown
College Avenue is just the beginning of downtown State College. It is a delightful mix of boutiques, Penn State Pride shops, and restaurants. It is the perfect mix of charm and college town.
5. The Waffle Shop
On any given day, the line for the Waffle Shop located on College Ave. may be out the door and down the sidewalk, but do not let that deter you. The line moves quickly, and the staff moves even quicker. If you are looking for breakfast, The Waffle Shop is the place to go. (May we suggest any omelet with a side of pancakes, her a girl’s got to eat, right?)
6. The Diner
This diner, as seen in Perks of Being a Wallflower, is another hotspot in State College located on College Ave. If you do not stop by for anything else, do it for the grilled stickies they are known for. After you taste one, I assure you will be picking up a box to-go.
7. Old Main lawn
The landmark known as “Old Main” on the University Park campus is, like the Nittany Lion Shrine, another well-known and photographed location. This building is a representation of the University’s past and serves today as a popular “hangout” or meeting spot for students. You truly cannot pass up the opportunity to visit Old Main lawn, where Penn State is represented in all its glory.
8. The CATA white loop on a Friday or Saturday night
During the week, the CATA buses are generally pretty tame. However, on Friday and Saturday of each week, it is a different story altogether. The white loop or, “woop” during this time is an experience of its own and can truly only be understood by trying it out for yourself. If you have the chance, don’t brave the cold by walking. Grab a slice of Canyon (it’s ok during the weekends) and take a ride, you’re sure to have a few laughs.
9. The Arboretum
This arguably underrated spot, located right off of the University Park campus, is open dawn until dusk each day and offers a breathtaking experience. In a highly technological and ever-changing society, we can’t forget to stop and enjoy nature. If you are looking for a relaxing experience, the Arboretum is the place to go.
10. Mount Nittany
Exploring Mount Nittany is a favorite activity among many local residents, students, and alumni alike. The breathtaking views are something that you simply must see for yourself to understand the true beauty so many take for granted here in Happy Valley.
No matter your reason for being here, now you have the tools you need to get the full experience and make the most of your time in State College!